For our first 10 things of 2023, we highlight Luka's volcanic shooting, Herro-ics in Miami, LaMelo Ball aimlessness, and a new invention from Nikola Jokic, plus issue a futile finger wag at obtrusive in-game ads. Happy New Year!
1. Luka Doncic, not settling
It's hard to track every individual scoring explosion, but Doncic's six games before a semi-dud against the Boston Celtics on Thursday was more like a prolonged volcanic eruption: 44 points on 53% shooting, including 43% from deep. That doesn't even look real.
All the focus on Doncic's ball dominance has obscured (a little) that he has reached a new efficiency level. After a chilly start on those patented step-backs, Doncic is up to 35% from deep.
He has hit 75% at the rim and 55% from floater range -- absurdity. The Mavs have scored 118.7 points per 100 possessions with Doncic on the floor -- just above Boston's league-leading offense. That plummets to 104 when he rests -- a tribute to Doncic's brilliance and an indictment of the roster around him.
The Mavs are built to jack 3s off Doncic passes, but Doncic knows the most basic NBA math: a shot at the rim is the best shot. His height, imagination, and daring grant him access to passes off-limits to almost everyone else: